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The Kingdoms of Terror (Lone Wolf) Paperback – 14 Nov 1985
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|Paperback, 14 Nov 1985||
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Top customer reviews
The first of the Magnakai gamebooks, this book introduces a new set of higher-level Kai disciplines most of which expand the earlier Kai skills to new levels. One major addition is ranged combat (with bows). A couple of annoyances about the Magnakai system are that firstly, a lot of the books require a Magnakai discipline (animal control say) when a Kai one would suffice, so a player is effectively set back to stage one in skills; secondly, the cumulative skill/endurance bonuses exacerbate the existing problem that the books are loaded against players who just play one book out of context. This said, the transition is fairly smooth and the higher disciplines follow logically from the lower ones.
The kingdoms themselves are an intriguing setting drawing on one of the best aspect of Dever's scenario creation - the character interactions in roadway and urban settings. The gamebook is somewhat multilinear, with several paths through a number of areas, though culminating in certain "bottleneck" incidents which are unavoidable. The difficulty is about right for someone following the series, though some battles will be hard for someone who doesn't have the Sommerswerd bonuses. There's also a useful new special item on offer in this book.
The main weakness I felt was the overall plot. I have to say I found the Magnakai gems theme rather McGuffin-ish - it's a random kind of reason for choosing this setting rather than any other, and I think better reasons for gamebooks 6-11 could have been constructed given the strengths of 1-5. The final "boss" monster was also rather randomly added, with no inherent link to the rest of the story - the gem just happened to have some kind of unspecified guardian. I'd also have liked to have seen more of the unusual monsters which usually populate Dever's books; the bestiary for this book was rather limited.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
These are the role-playing games of a bygone era prior to RPG video games. Though well written, these are easy enough reads for a younger person.
It has its faults, and if you play the books through in order then the possession of the Sommerswerd will, as always, vastly skew the difficulty level, but taken on its own, this adventure is pretty well balanced and provides the right level of challenge.
In addition to that, the story is more interesting, involving as it does more relatable elements, such as the warring nations, none of which is all good or all evil, and the quest for a mysterious, magical object hidden away for centuries, which is a story we've all read, seen and played dozens of times.
I'm not sure whether I'd recommend a new reader start out with this book or the first one. I think this is, in every way, a better book, but on the other hand, if you like it and want to read more, you're probably going to want to play through them in order.
This book really kicks the rest of the adventures off because you start to look for the lorestones that will help you unlock the power of the Grand Master kai warrior. As you progress through the magnakai books the abilities you have become stronger for each book, so choose wisely which skills you start with. Some of the neat aspects of the first book are expanded upon in the next few books. Truly a classic!
Adventurers must be careful, as I stumbled into a fair number of instant deaths! Good luck!